A hard lesson I've learned......

greerhw

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In bonsai "one size fits all" doesn't apply. When repotting and root pruning, be aware of your climate conditons. When someone demonstrates how to root prune, be sure you know their location. In Oklahma, I can't root prune as hard as someone in Michigan. I have to have the largest rootball possible. If I prune too hard, no amount of watering, misting or foliar feeding will keep the tree alive. The majority of trees I've lost came from cooler climates and didn't have enough roots to sustain the tree if they had just been rooted pruined. Just a warning.

keep it green,
Harry
 

october

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Hi Harry,
Although it might be possible that it was your climate, usually it is other factors that relate to pruning related death or health declines. Older trees should not be root pruned heavilly, especially a some what already old specimen of tree. Also, older specimens should not be root pruned often. If your tree is somewhat old and was root pruned only 3 years or so ago.. That might have something to do with it. Also, was there a tap root on the tree you are talking about? I have always thought of root pruning as a step by step procedure..It is important to assess as you go.. Otherwise, you can clip the one or 2 wrong ones and the tree is a goner.

It is probably just as important to find out the last time a tree was root pruned as it is to find out where the tree came from.

Rob
 

greerhw

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I've often heard and read, that Americans root prune their trees too often. I believe that to be true. I bought a healthy chuhin JBP that was so root bound, you could hardly get it to take water. Marco repotted it and used a saw and cut about about 3/4 of an inch all around the root ball and put it back in the pot, it's doing fine.

keep it green,
Harry
 

october

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Yup, amazing isn't it.. You see articles and pics bonsai magazines of trees that were left for years and neglected in the same pot and yet the tree still lives.

I have a pretty nice itiogawa that I have had for about 5 years... about years after having it, I root pruned it. The front part of the foliage pad o nthe main branch began to die. I watched it week after week as it worsened and it looked like the whole front of the pad was going to go. However, the tree started to recover and within 1 1/2 years, it pretty much completely regrew the whole area...whew...... That was a close one:)
 

subnet_rx

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This is probably related to the same issue, but in my climate, I can already see that it's going to be frustrating to try to keep bonsai in shallow pots alive. I am pretty strict about watering, but only have time to do it morning or late afternoon. Bonsai in shallow pots tend to not be able to make it that 8 hours (well, only the toughest of varieties and even they look stressed). So, I tend to buy bonsai pots that are almost twice as deep as what I see at shows, and no mame. I've gotten to the point that I really hesitate to repot anything into a smaller pot. I do think performing my root prunes in fall instead of spring is helping though since there is some recovery time before the summer heat.
 

Bill S

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Just thinking not being incitefull

Supprised to see that Victrinia, or Angelfire haven't stepped into this one yet, especially after hearing often enough that Dan Robinson in many cases doesn't repot his trees. They should have some good input here.

SOme of what we do in order to be purists requires that you be home to do the watering, or figure out how to water when you aren't there. I guess now that begs the question that if due to not "doing" the proper things for lack of want to, or able to, are trees in a doubly thick pot, etc. still bonsai, or are they bushes in a pot????? For me I answered the question with my intro, Dan may not repot, but I sure call his trees bonsai, good ones at that.
 

october

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Hello subnet_rx.....I think there may be some other things that you can do to still have success in bonsai.. One thing I know, and as Bill made reference to, keeping your trees in pots that are too deep will ruin the illusion of bonsai. They will loosley be bonsai and not really showable.. They will always look like a project in training or a patio plant...I think that instead of you bending to your situation, you should make the situation bend to you. I do not know what set up you have for your trees. However, there are things that are very simple to do. It may require a bit more efffort, but it can work.. You said you can water twice a day, morning and afternnon. Sometimes this is enough. Are you saying that you need to water 3 times a day?? You could just make some very simple things. Maybe even make a simple table looking thing with sheets of wood, metal screens and concrete blocks. When you go to work, just throw a tarp over it and put the trees underneath the bench. Actually, anything that you could attach a tarp to. Even if you tie it up with wire or twine and attach the ends to something would work.

In regards to root pruning in Fall. Althought it is done, in my opinion, it is always best to wait till Spring... Usually when trees are root pruned in Spring, it warms up shortly after so the tree can recover, so unless you can provide the tree with protection from the Winter, then root pruning in Fall may not be a good idea. I mean if you root prune a juniper in Fall, you probably would not want to subject it to freezing cold temeperatures, you would want to have it in a slightly heated environment. Which kind of interferes with the tree's natural cycle because it should be in the cold at this time. However, if you have a really mild winter, say it doesn't really get down much below 50, it might be ok.

I hope is helpful

Rob
 
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